Yeovilton Air Day

The 2018 airshow at RNAS Yeovilton

7th July 2018

Black Cats

Black Cats

RNAS Yeovilton is one of two principal naval air bases in the UK, the other being RNAS Culdrose. In the absence of an airshow at RNAS Culdrose in 2017, Yeovilton Air Day was the only airshow based at a Royal Naval Air Station in the UK in that year.

On July 7th 2018, the Air Station’s gates will once again open to an estimated 40,000 visitors, providing the perfect opportunity to see naval equipment and meet the Station's personnel. There will be over five hours of flying displays and an extensive static display will feature historic and modern naval aircraft. The show, understandably, has a strong naval content, generally including a wealth of naval helicopters.

The first participation announcement reveals the debut of the Lithuanian Air Force at the show. In 2018 they will be sending two aircraft for the static display: an Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer and a Mil Mi-8T utility helicopter. The L-39 Albatros was a real success for Czech firm Aero Vodochody. During a 25-year production run, 2,900 were built and supplied to almost 50 militaries. Lithuania, plus around a dozen other nations, took delivery of the L-39ZA armed trainer/light attack variant. Its duties include surveying and defending Lithuanian airspace.

The remarkable Mil Mi-8 (NATO codenamed ‘Hip’) is the world’s most produced-helicopter: more than 17,000 examples of the Soviet-origin design having been manufactured. Lithuania only employs three Mi-8Ts (‘Hip-Cs’) in the troop transport and search and rescue roles.

The first flying display to be announced is the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team. The team included RIAT when their schedule was released on 4th December and the booking was confirmed by RIAT on 13th. The theme of the Demo Team for 2018 is the 60th anniversary of NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command).

The French Navy were very early supporters, with promises early in the New Year of two flying and three static displays. In the air will be pairs of Rafales and Atlantiques with a Falcon 50M Maritime Patrol and NH90 & Lynx HAS4 rotaries on the ground.

Elsewhere on the ground expect displays in the arena and hangars, including engineering fairs, defence technology exhibitions, trade stalls, simulators, fairground rides and helicopter pleasure flights.

CF-18The RCAF CF-18 is now confirmed by the show
Rafale x 2 (French Navy)
Atlantique x 2 (French Navy)
Static aircraft
Aero L-39 Albatross (Lithuania)
Mil Mi-8 'Hip' (Lithuania)
NH90 NFH Caiman (French Navy)
Lynx HAS4 (French Navy)
Falcon 50M (French Navy)

RNAS Yeovilton

Before WWll much of the land on which RNAS Yeovilton stands was owned by the Church of England. The admiralty Air Division commandeered it in 1939 and the first runway was operational in 1941. During the war the station was home for an increasing number of naval air squadrons and afterwards became one of the main demobilization centres for the Royal Navy.

RNAS Yeovilton, also known as HMS Heron, is now one of two principal naval air bases in the UK, the other being RNAS Culdrose. Over 100 aircraft are based here, belonging to front-line squadrons and training units including all Fleet Air Arm Lynx and the Commando Helicopter Force.

Yeovilton also houses the vintage aircraft of the RN Historic Flight and the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

Yeovilton International Air Day 2017

Great War Display Team

Great War Display Team

This ‘Fly Navy’ airshow will showcase the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, its current capabilities and historic achievements.

In 2017 the first Royal Navy aircraft will touch down on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, as she sets sail to begin sea trials. Operational evaluation and testing of the F-35B Lightning multirole fighter will continue; Wildcat helicopters will partner front-line destroyers and frigates and the RNAS Yeovilton Air Day itself celebrates its 70th anniversary: the first show took place in 1947.

The Air Station’s gates open to an estimated 40,000 visitors, providing the perfect opportunity to see naval equipment and meet the Station's personnel.

The show will feature a wide selection of teams from foreign armed forces. The Belgian Air force is sending its ever-popular F-16 display with Commandant Tom "Gizmo" De Moortel in the pilot's seat for the third and final year. The JAS 39C Gripen solo display from the Czech Air Force won the Best Fixed Wing Display award at Air Day 2013 and is back this year. Air Day will also see the UK airshow debut of the Aero L-159 Alca duo display from the Czech Air Force. Starting and ending with a pairs take off and landing, the routine demonstrates many of the aggressive light combat aircraft’s leading qualities including its power, agility and turn of speed. The Czech Air Force Gripen display, Alca duo and the Belgian Air Force F-16 display are all expected to feature flare releases.

Due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
Red Arrows
Typhoon (RAF)
Dassault Rafale pair (French Marine Nationale)
Apache (AHDT)
Wildcat HMA2 x 2 - Maritime Role Demo with pyros & flares
Merlin HM2
Patrouille Suisse
Royal Jordanian Falcons
x2 Aero L-159A Alca(Czech Air Force) x2
Saab JAS-39 Gripen (Czech Air Force)
BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane
Great War Display Team (10 expected)
Westland Whirlwind HAR10
F-16 Belgian Air Force
F-16 Fighting Falcon (Royal Danish Air Force)
MiG-15 (Norwegian AFHF)
T-6 (replaces Skyraider)
Richard Goodwin
P-51D Mustang: 'Tall in the Saddle - Hangar 11)
Atlantique II (French Navy) (was static - now flying)
Royal Navy Raiders Parachute Display Team
Additionally the following are due to be on static display, but are not flying during the show
Alca L-159 in Spitfire camo. (Czech Air Force) Apache AH1 (Army)
Auster AOP9 G-BURR 'WZ706'
Avenger T1
Boredom Fighter
Bristol Scout
Chipmunk T10
Defender AL2
F-16 Fighting Falcon Royal Danish Air Force
F-35 Full Scale Model (Lockheed Martin)
Gazelle HT2 (Gazelle Sqn)
Globemaster (C-17A Globemaster III, USAF)
Hawk T1
Lynx Mk90B x 2 (Royal Danish Air Force) Lynx HAS4 (French Navy)
M-28B1B Bryza (Polish Navy)
McDonnell Douglas F-4K Phantom FG1 (RN)
Merlin HM2 (RN)
Merlin HC3i3 (RN)
Meteor T7 (Martin-Baker Aircraft Co)
NH90 NFH (Royal Netherlands Navy)
QinetiQ A109E
Sea Harrier FA2 x 2 (RN)
Sea King ASaC7
Sea King HAS5
Sea Venom FAW21
Stinson Reliant 1
Tucano T1 (RAF)
Typhoon FGR4 (RAF)
Wasp HAS1
Wessex HU5
Wildcat AH1
Wildcat HMA2 x2
Yak 52 G-YAKX
Yak 52 G-YAKH
Yak 18T G-YAKJ
Cancelled or withdrawn
Sea Vixen (damaged on wheels-up landing following hydraulic failure)
Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider (not ready but may still feature in static display)
Swordfish W5856 (unserviceable)
All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints

More contributions from abroad include the Royal Jordanian Falcons and Northern Europe’s only flying MiG-15. Operated by the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron, the Cold War jet fighter, which debuted at last year’s RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day, is painted to represent the one flown by Yuri Gagarin.

The Sea Vixen "Foxy Lady" is now resident at RNAS Yeovilton and seemed an obvious flying display until its belly-landing following a display at Duxford. This is really unfortunate as XP924, the only airworthy example of the type, had to curtail its season in 2016 following discovery of a faulty flap. A huge amount of work was necessary to bring the Sea Vixen back to the air and Navy Wings is fundraising to give Foxy the best chance to become airworthy again.

Yeovilton is one of only 5 public displays at which the Apache Attack Helicopter Display Team will perform; again with pyrotechnics if all goes to plan. Other major British displays have been promised from the Eurofighter Typhoon Display Team, the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, featuring the Lancaster. Kennet Aviation's Skyraider, the only airworthy one of its type in the UK, was to have joined the line-up but it has since been replaced by their T-6.

The list of aircraft is in the table.

Yeovilton Air Day is famous for it role demonstrations, although the traditional and famous Air Day Commando Assault Demonstration will not be taking place this year because of operational commitments. It is hoped that the assault demo will return in a future year.

Elsewhere on the ground there will be displays in the arena and hangars, including a Field Gun Competition, live music and a vehicle exhibition.


Local area

Getting to the Show

By car

RNAS Yeovilton is on the B3151, five miles north of Yeovil and about forty miles south of Bristol. The B3151 is off the A37 from the north and south and from the A303 from the east and west. The nearest motorway is the M5, which most visitors would leave at junction 25 onto the A358 and then the A303.

The post code BA22 8HT can be used for sat nav but, as with all shows, ignore the sat nav in favour of local directions as soon as you see Air Day traffic signs.

By coach

Some coach operators offer excursions, normally with inclusive travel and entry tickets. Check the air show's 'how to get there' page for details.

National Express have a direct coach service from Weymouth which will get you to Yeovil in about an hour but it is more difficult to reach the show in time for the start of the show from further afield. Coach and bus services terminate at Yeovil bus station, from where there is a shuttle bus to the show site.

You can book National Express seats online. Click the National Express name to go to their web site.

By Train

The nearest stations are Yeovil Penn Mill and Yeovil Junction. From Yeovil Junction there is a direct service to London (about 2.5 hours) and Exeter (about 1 hour). From Yeovil Penn Mill the service goes to Weymouth (about 45 minutes) and Bristol (about 2 hours). There is a (not free) shuttle bus service from both stations to the show site.

Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.

The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose, but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.

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Accommodation near the show

It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.

There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.

Between them, LateRooms and Expedia list a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. Expedia also give, and take, Nectar points.

Click either blue agency name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into both links, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates.

If you need plenty of options, we find that, between them, LateRooms and Expedia list a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. Expedia also give, and take, Nectar points.

Click either blue agency name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into both links, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates.

Weather for the show area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day RNAS Yeovilton weather forecast from the UK Met Office

The Met office seven-day forecast includes maximum, minimum and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind direction, gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.

The BBC's five-day forecast has overall conditions including temperatures, UV range and a description that may help to determine how pleasant the day will be for the visitor.

Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.

2018 Show Basics

7th July 2018

Airshow links

Show's web site


now available online
Earlybird (1 Nov - 31 Jan)
adult (16+) £22
child (5-15) £5
In advance (1 Feb - 6 Jul)
adult £24
child £7
On the day (unless sold out)
adult £30
child £10
More ticket information


Sat Nav BA22 8HB
For links to travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting there' tab